The sense of pride we feel when we create something on our own is like no other. For some that creation means culinary masterpieces or exploring fine arts. For others creativity means building or renovating a home— seemingly made effortless and doable by the DIY shows and magazines that have become so popular. But, building that home may come with a heavy price in the form of accident or injury from the tools like power saws and table saws that are used to make the renovation a reality.
As with many injuries involving power tools and equipment, table saw accidents are devastating. The aftermath includes the pain of the accident, many visits to the emergency room, dealing with personal and employer insurance companies, possible ongoing surgeries, and many years of physical therapy, which may include rehabilitation after a likely limb amputation.
While over 10 million table saws can be found in homes and toolsheds nationwide, it has been said that table saw accidents affect over 65,000 people per year. A table saw is one of the most widely used and commonly seen tools in the workplace. Many table saws are equipped with blade guards, which are intended to protect the user when used correctly, and without malfunction. Injuries still occur, however, and include:
- Hand and finger injuries
- Eye injuries from flying debris
- Extensive trauma from a “kickback”
Finger amputations are the most common, and kickbacks are the most dangerous. A kickback occurs when the wood on the table is blocked by an element in the wood that prohibits the table saw from moving forward, stopping so suddenly that it easily draws hands and other body parts or clothing into the blade. With a blade that spins at about 4000 rpm, it is not hard to understand how horrifying an injury can be.
There are some precautions that can be established before beginning any task that requires use of a table saw:
- Avoid loose fitting clothing and sleeves so that nothing falls in the way of the saw
- Invest in—and wear—eye protection
- Do not wear gloves while using a table saw, as it can be easy for fabric to be grabbed by the saw
- Wear non-slip shoes so proper positioning is not compromised
- Ensure the blade guards are in place and that the blade is tight
- Turn the saw off before picking up scrap, as it is easy for a hat or hair to fall in the way
Everyone would like to have a happy ending to the story of his or her do-it-yourself project, but not everyone is so lucky. If you have been a victim of a table saw accident, you may have product liability case that request extensive investigation. Tackling large manufacturers is not job for the victim, but rather for qualified attorneys who can investigate and achieve the compensation you deserve.